Hey, Tom and Dan, I hope you are doing well. I want to experiment with the Harimoto-style backhand, but I’m not clear on what I would have to change besides opening up my bat a little more. When I open the bat more, I send the ball off of the table, so I’m curious about what else goes into the formula? If I try this new style, my understanding is that I contact the ball slightly lower than on a regular topspin hit. I know that brushing is important, but I’m still not reaching consistent success. What I noticed from the video on this technique is that Harimoto seems to drop his bat a bit lower prior to the hit; perhaps a bit lower than you typically do on a topspin. Is that correct? Also, I’m curious as to whether the wrist is cocked a bit more than you typically do in order to get that spin? Is that a critical element to returning a successful or not really?
Finally, what would you say is the single biggest asset that this technique has over a more traditional backhand topspin?
Hey Resznotes, we are fine, I hope all is well with you too. Ok so what I would say is that it’s not a totally different shot to a normal backhand by any means, more like just some subtle changes which can make it more effective and simplify it for some people. It’s about having the slightly more open bat angle and brushing over but also around the ball in a quick snappy movement which produces the dip and spin on the ball but also means you can keep a shot compact stroke. If the ball is still going off the end you can think about closing the angle slightly and brushing through the back of the ball and over a little more.
The wrist is definitely key in these types of shots and I would say it is easier if it’s slight cocked to help produce spin and get the wrist accelerating through the contact too. The biggest thing with this technique is the way you can keep it compact and snappy and save time, a more traditional backhand topspin can be a little to long and take too much time, where as with these small changes and a more Harimoto type style it saves time. Most of the top players do use similar elements in their backhands too, of course every player is unique and Harimoto is a great example to watch and learn this type of attacking shot.
I feel the best way is to just think of your normal backhand but then try to shorten it down and get that nice snappy action and hitting through brushing over the ball with a quick acceleration through the contact. I hope that makes sense and anything else on this just let us know 🙂
You captured it for me. Thanks, Tom.